Thursday, June 9, 2016

A Year and a Day

My poor, sweet neglected blog! 

About a year ago I was writing all the time and I was loving it.  For at least a few years, “We're All Made of Stars” was regularly updated.  In 2015 I was also very busy working on a book and pitching it to publishers and agents.  I was doing some really fun freelance writing as well contributing to a website and co-hosting a radio show.

And then life happened, and here I am, almost a year later.  At the end of last year I had queued up quite a few re-posts (or even re-re-posts) but the last real blog post I did was last November.  And even before that the last real-real blog post I did was last August!

So here I am, nearly a year later, and I find myself on the hazy, muggy edges of another strange, weird summer.  So I thought it was time to update my neglected blog, and write a bit about my wild, crazy, cosmic life...

June 2015

I spent a lot of time with my sister this summer.  She was having some weird housing issues and was soon to be moving back to New Mexico.  We spent a lot of time eating and shopping and gossiping.  I really miss her.  We went to a local lavender festival again, and that was a sweet and lovely time, too.

I taught a workshop on Elder: The Queen of Herbs.  That was a lovely, magical experience!  I really love playing with herbs, and I don't do it nearly as often as I should.

bee friend and lavender friend
I facilitated a huge solstice ritual for a local metaphysical and occult shop.  I wrote the ritual based off of my very first Pagan ritual with my fostering coven, back in 2005.  It seemed fitting, somehow.  I was a Baby Pagan then, and ten years later I was able to pay homage to those who taught me and loved me.  The ritual was an exhausting, lovely experience. I tried to write an article about it to submit to Sage Woman for their Roots & Wings edition, but found myself unable to finish it.

I spent a lot of time this month applying for jobs.  I had graduated in May of 2014 and still had not found a job in my field.  It was very depressing.

July 2015

I spent the first part of this month looking for a job, and I found one!  My very first grown-up social work job, working as a child and family therapist.  However, because of training and paperwork, I wouldn’t see my first client until the end of August. 

The Triangle Area Pagan Alliance celebrated it's third annual 4th of July/Independence Day ritual down at the Eno River.  What a lovely little ritual!  I'm looking forward to this year's ritual a lot. 

I think I had an initiation around this time, too

August 2015

World Goddess Day 2015
My sister left back to New Mexico around this time.  I also saw my very, very first client at the end of August. 

September 2015

I was so excited to officiate my very first same-sex (and Pagan!) wedding down at Wilmington.  It was such a sweet ceremony, lovely and loving family, and the brides were amazing people!  The whole experience was such an honor. 

I was starting to get busier with work, but I never really got as busy as I needed to.

Me and a sister-witch co-facilitated a ritual for the 2nd Annual World Goddess Day.  What a great experience!  We met some great friends at this ritual, including a researcher from Brazil.  We can’t wait for this year’s ritual!  

Me and my co-committee with the Triangle Area Pagan Alliance had another information table at this year’s Pagan Pride Day.  We also facilitated and attended a ton of workshops, and had a blast.  We were so exhausted and happy and pleased!  I facilitated a workshop on Christopaganism, and attended a great workshop of Pagans and Mental Illness.  We met a ton of great folks this year, too, and I can’t wait for 2016!

The Super Duper Space Witch meets Selena Fox
I helped my friend Magus over at Conjure Work for a little bit at the Piedmont PPD.  I was happy to connect with some friends at this event, too.  I attended a workshop on Dionysus, and met some really great folks who are doing fun things down there.  Best of all, I met Selena Fox!  She gave a great talk on the future of Paganism, and also facilitated the evening ritual.  What beauty!  What grace!  What power!

October 2015

October is the best month ever!  I had started watching spooky movies back in August so I was really in the mood this year.  I worked a lot this month, having a ton of fun with my clients.  We had a lot of bats around our house and I loved to sit on the back porch and watch them swoop and soar in the twilight.  I went to a ton of dance parties and regular parties.  I also went to a social work licensing exam conference, which freaked me out.

For Halloween, Steve wore a lovely owl mask.  I was a “space witch” because, well, you know.  We attended a masquerade/benefit party for the Carrack, a local non-profit arts pace, and then later a dance party/art show at the Best Venue that Doesn’t Exist.

November 2015

I had the honor of officiating another wedding this month.  This one Harry Potter themed – Death Eaters, to be exact.  Another sweet family and gorgeous venue.

a very Harry Potter wedding
I attended the statewide social work conference this month, and had a really random, really great lunch with some really cool folks.  We talked about race, racism, and social work - “The Storm.”  While I was up in Asheville I stopped by the Raven and Crone and the clerk was this really nice gal.  We chatted a bit, and it was nice to hear about what groups are doing in other cities.

My in-laws came into town for Thanksgiving and we took them to our favorite Honduran place in town.  We had a wonderful meal with my friend and her son, delicious pies, and then later had some friends over for some board games.  We were all stuffed for two months after two days of eating.

We were also evicted from our house because our landlady decided to sell.  Ugh.

Work was good!  Challenging and fun.  Not as many hours and not as much pay as I needed but… honestly, I was just happy to be working and doing something I loved and am good at.

December 2015

My housemate and I found an amazing little house in the middle of the woods.  It was literally love at first sight.  I hope we get to live here for forever.

Community Solstice Party
December was packing, packing, and more packing.  Tons of friends collected boxes for me, which was wonderful, and many more helped us move.  It was a really hard move, mostly because I’m a pack-rat, but also, we were in a tight time-crunch and it was just hard to coordinate it all.  Luckily, I’m blessed with amazing family and friends who helped us out.  THANK YOU, FRIENDS.

Before the move, though, TAPA collaborated with some local groups (Fellowship of the Oak, Gaia’s Circle, Whispers of the Forest, Bull Moon Hearth) for a really great community solstice party.  We had food, a super charged drum circle, sweet little ritual, chatting.  Such a great event, and I’m so excited to do it again this year! 

Christmas was balls.  I got the flu really badly right after we moved, and was just miserable.  We had some dinner with a friend of ours which was nice, but I had no energy to do anything else.  The best part of Christmas this year was Steve and I driving around town for a few hours, listening to Christmas music and just chatting.  It had been the first time in months that we were able to spend together and have a conversation that wasn’t dominated by business or drama. 
And then my best friend came into town and we ate and ate and ate.  Yay!  Work was incredibly slow this month, which was nice because it gave me time and energy to move and unpack.  We had our annual New Year’s Eve party, and this year’s theme was Bacchanalia.  I knew it was a good party because people didn’t leave until 6am.  I have no idea what next year's theme will be, but I'm excited for it already.

January 2016

Work started to get busy again this month, though we had a snow storm that left us stuck on our little hilltop in the woods.  That was actually quite lovely.  I colored a lot this month.  Unfortunately I suffered through a really bad eczema flare-up through much of this winter, and even in June I am still feeling some of the dryness and sensitivity from that.

A sister-witch came to live with us for a few months!  She was in town for a show, so the next three months were spent eating and talking about social justice.

And this is the month that I began my love-affair with Arcana.  <3 <3 <3

goth prom queen
February 2016

Work continued to increase, little by little.  But finally I was building my caseload, and starting to see some great work with my clients.

I facilitated a really great Imbolc ritual for Gaia's Circle that I’m really proud of.  We had a good group, and people seemed really happy.

Still eczema…

More dance parties at Arcana!

March 2016

More rituals, more parties.  I facilitated a little ritual/tea party for Gaia’s Circle, and since the weather was quite awful we had to squeeze inside my little house.  But it was okay, because people seemed rather happy.

My Druids facilitated a ritual down at Fellowship of the Oak, and it was almost a little too good.  People seemed really engaged, and it ended up lasting a long time (a bit too long!)  It was a great ritual devoted to the Muses and Mnemosyne, and it was a good learning experience for us as ritual facilitators. 

Muses and Mnemosyne
I went to a really great, really exclusive Hekate ritual, too.

Another sister-friend came to stay with us, so for a little while we had a full house of up to six people.  Cozy!

I went to a conference on ethics, and during the super boring and dumb luncheon I sat with some of my old professors.  It was so nice to share about my own career, and also to catch up on some department gossip.

In the middle of March, we found ourselves scrambling together for some social justice magic and ritual, as well as some protest in response to HB2.  It’s great to have a pre-written ritual that you can just do at a moment’s notice, old friends and comrades sinking into familiar words and familiar energy.

I did a really weird interview with our local rag, the Indy.  I spoke to the journalist for almost an hour and I was given a whole two lines!  I guess it’s better than nothing, and I’ve worked as a journalist so I know how this game goes.  But I had some mixed feelings about the resulting article.

Still eczema…

More dance parties at Arcana!

April 2016

I turned 32.  I met friends at The Palour for ice cream and had a lovely time.  Later that week, me and a sister-witch had a shared birthday party.  My husband, sister-witch, and housemate surprised me with a house show!  My housemate got his band to play with him, and they played Life on Mars, I Know You Love Me, Old Friends, Shadowplay, and Death.  I was stunned and moved to tears at all of the time and effort they put forward, and the love they and my other friends showed me that night.

My sister-witch did a dance-ordeal, loosely based on Inanna’s decent into the underworld.  The ritual was amazing and powerful.  (An ordeal for us all.)  She was making plans to move back home, since her show was done.

"The Drunken Sailor"
Work was going really, really well.  I went to a conference focused on faith, community connections, and mental illness.  It was a really great conference, and gave me a ton to think about in regards to my own role as a clinician and as a clergy person.  What can I do to serve my community?  What role does the community play in serving those who suffer from mental illness?  How can me and my groups bridge these gaps?  I had lunch with one of my old supervisors from when I was an intern at our local state psychiatric hospital.  It was great catching up with him, and I was reminded of how kind and supportive mentors can be.

And then I fell and broke my foot.   

I was on my way home from seeing clients and was (reluctantly) meeting a friend for burritos.  I crossed the street, or at least tried to, and I fell, heard a SNAP (sounded like a twig!) and then down into the gutter I went.  Luckily I had friends there to literally help pull me out of the gutter.  A homeless man asked me for some money.  A woman pulled over in her car to see if I was okay. 

Went to the Doc, was put on a boot, given some crutches, and waited for the swelling to go down.  I saw a specialist later, and decided to opt out of the surgery.  And thus began my 8-week binge on painkillers, books, coloring, and Netflix.

D-d-dance parties at Arcana!  (but before I broke my foot)

May 2016

Because of the broken foot, I had to cancel ALL of my rituals.  Like, all of the rituals I had planned from the middle of April to the end of July.  I was a devastated, and to be honest, I’m still a bit sad about it.  But this broken foot thing has been a lesson in self-care, and s-l-o-w-i-n-g down.  I had to miss Beltane (my all-time favorite holiday.  October may be my favorite month, but I think Beltane is my favorite holiday) but some sweet, sweet friends came over on Walpurgisnacht to bring me MAY PIG and to hang out and chat with me.  It was so great, and so touching, and really just what I needed.  I needed to be around community, and I was so blessed that my community came to me.

sweet tears of relief!
So, in May I pretty much read a ton (twelve books, plus a few more started but not yet finished.)  I watched a billion cooking/foodie/travel shows on Netflix.  I colored a lot, too.  And most of all, I studied for my licensing exam.  The exam had been a huge, huge weight on my shoulder since graduation.  I spent most of 2014 in denial about it, and then the rest of 2015 with some mild anxiety about it.  I had been studying off and on since November, but it was hard for me to find time for myself to sit and focus.  But finally, the deadline drew near.  The broken foot gave me FORCED time to study (and in a weird way, I’m thankful.)  So I took the test, which was an ordeal.  Hand scans, signatures, photographs, locked doors, signing in and out, checking my pockets, more hand scans, sealing my phone in an unbreakable plastic bag, etc.  The test was crazy – let’s just say, lots of prayers were made and lots of offerings promised!  But, I passed the test, and when I got the PASSED alert, I had to read it 1,000 times, and then I cried a bit.  I had a margarita and some nachos, and then I settled into some blessed laziness.  Even though the broken foot had forced me to slow down, when the test was over I felt like I could finally relax.

Even though I was very immobile, I had a ton of visitors in May.  One of my friends set up a meal train for me, and I was very well fed and taken care of.  Thank you, friends!  I don’t know what we would have done if not for people feeding me, and feeding me well.  I had plenty of leftovers.  April and May are hard for Steve because of the pressures of the end of the year at school (plus the anxiety of saving money for the summer, which was even harder with medical bills and me not working), so people bringing food meant he didn’t have to grocery shop and he didn’t have to cook for me.  (Or clean up after cooking.)  Such a blessing!

So… I couldn’t work because I couldn’t drive.  (Well, most of the time I couldn’t even hobble to the bathroom or take a shower or feed myself, let alone see clients for therapy, so…) My clients were transferred to other therapists, and I have to start over with a whole new caseload.  This has been majorly devastating for me, not just because of the financial loss, but because I really, truly care for my clients.  They had all been doing such good work, and I was sad to have to break that relationship so abruptly.

Sharon Knight at Arcana
June 2016

So, here we are.  I’ve been reading, writing, and healing.  I haven’t had to use my crutches in a few weeks, and I hope to be out of the boot completely by the end of the month.  I’m slowly weaning myself off, and aside from a swollen ankle here or there, I’m doing well.  I’m trying to get back into writing, especially because work will be a little uncertain for the time being.  I did some major work on the website for the Triangle Area Pagan Alliance, and that has been satisfying.  I hope to build a website for Gaia’s Circle, too, and maybe one for Steve for some potential translation work.

Last night a friend took me to see Sharon Knight, and that was just amazing.  It was almost a dream come true, to sit in my favorite bar, where the owner knows my name and brings me a drinks special.  I was able to listen to some witchy, Pagan musicians, sharing their craft.  I was surrounded my friends, engaged in lively conversation.  I saw some acquaintances, met some new friends, and did some great Pagan networking.  I came home and even though my foot was killing me my husband said “you look like you had a good time.”  And I did, I really, really did.

A lot of my future is uncertain.  How will we pay bills this summer?  How quickly will my foot heal?  What will I do about my career?  What is the next step for TAPA, for Gaia’s Circle?  Will I have the energy and follow-through to get back into my writing?

But looking back at the past year, I want to remind myself to take it easy.  Things will happen unexpectedly, and that’s okay.  I know I’ll have a lot of fun, I’ll learn a lot, I’ll continue to meet new people, and I’ll deepen the relationships I have with the people who I already know and love.  The community will continue to grow and expand and connect and network and reconnect, like an enforced net/web.  This summer will be strange and lovely and exciting, because that’s exactly what my life is. 

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

1 comment:

  1. You rock my lady. Look at all you have accomplished this year, even with the sudden move and broken foot!